Scotland faces more council strikes after local government employers refused to increase a 2.5% pay offer.
Union members had hoped local council body Cosla would offer a new one year deal taking inflation into account. However, Cosla said increasing the pay offer in the current economic climate would result in service and job cuts. Meanwhile, hundreds of other civil and public servants voted for strike action which could cause serious disruption to the justice system.
Following a meeting with union officials, Cosla spokesman councillor Michael Cook said the pay offer for local government workers would remain at 2.5%.
He said: "The problem for us is that while we do sympathise with our workforce and the monetary pressures they are facing, we have a major difficulty because we are facing exactly the same pressures on budgets across the board.
"We have two roles and we have to strike a balance between that of an employer and that of a service deliverer."
Unite, the GMB and Unison now plan to meet within the next week to co-ordinate further strike dates.
Unite official Jimmy Farrelly said: "This is a total misjudgement of local government workers' commitment to fight for a decent living wage.
"We are extremely disappointed with their decision which will lead to an escalation of strike action."
Spreading the dispute
In a similar dispute over a below-inflation pay offer, Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) workers in five agencies and public bodies voted for strike action and work-to-rule.
Staff from the Scottish Courts Service, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, sportscotland and the National Museums of Scotland are unhappy with a 2% pay offer.